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In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you standing there
"The part I feel most proud of is that we succeeded in affecting people without using words."
Yuji Naka
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Developed by Sonic Team for the Sega Saturn in 1996, NiGHTS into Dreams... is Sega's most iconic game series that feature neither an anthropomorphic, blue hedgehog nor a Japanese mafioso with a dragon tattoo.

NiGHTS into Dreams... features a minimalist story revolving around two children, Claris and Elliot, both of whom have something troubling them. Claris is extremely nervous about her upcoming performance at a talent show, and Elliot had a nasty encounter with the local school bully. Uneasy, both children go to sleep that night and in their dreams they discover Nightopia, where they meet NiGHTS, a playful spirit that has been imprisoned by the God of Nightmares: Wizeman the Wicked.

The main objective of each level is to collect enough "Blue Chips" in order to recover objects known as "Ideya" from Wizeman's minions: the Nightmaren. The controls are separated into two distinct styles: the children and NiGHTS. Claris and Elliot can only walk on the ground and are constantly chased by an "Alarm Egg", which will wake them up and end the game if it catches up to them. NiGHTS is able to "dualize" with one of the children, doing so will allow NiGHTS to leave the prison temporarily. NiGHTS can fly, perform complex aerial acrobatics, and drill through the air very quickly. After all the Ideya in a level has been recovered, NiGHTS will be teleported to a boss fight, and good rankings in all stages are needed to access the final boss and ending.

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After the initial game's success, a spinoff titled Christmas NiGHTS was developed, featuring an extensive Holiday Mode remix of the first game's levels. A six-issue miniseries by Archie Comics was published in 1998, and "The World of NiGHTS into Dreams..." made an appearance in the Worlds Unite crossover event, also by Archie. NiGHTS became a featured character in other Sega games, particularly crossovers with Sonic, and became somewhat infamous for having more appearances in other games than their own series.

After 11 years, a sequel to the original game was released in 2007 for the Wii, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. Unlike its predecessor, Journey of Dreams features a more traditional narrative, with a larger cast of characters and greater emphasis on world-building and character development.

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NiGHTSintoDreams.com is a dedicated fansite that has been consistently updated with any relevant NiGHTS news since 1999. It features an extensive archive of just about everything NiGHTS-related that you can think of, including interviews with Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka.

In 2020, Yuji Naka and character designer Naoto Ohshima revealed that, as part of the new Square Enix subsidiary Balan Company, they were developing a Spiritual Successor to NiGHTS: Balan Wonderworld.

    open/close all folders 
    Main Series Games 

    Spinoffs and Crossovers 

    Notable Guest Appearances 
  • Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast, 1998; GameCube, 2003; PS3, 360, Steam (PC), 2010)note 
  • Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast, 2000)note 
  • Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast, 2001; GameCube, 2002; PS3, 360, Steam (PC), 2012)note 
  • Phantasy Star Online and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (GameCube, 2002 and 2003)note 
  • EyeToy: Play and Sega Superstars (PS2, 2003 and 2004)note 
  • Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (7th Gen Consoles, 2010)note 

    Comics 


This video game provides examples of:

  • Acid-Trip Dimension: The boss fights from the first game take place in these.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Nearly all of the Level 3 Nightmaren (the Mooks) resemble cute, colorful, toylike animals. Among the most adorable are Shleeps (fluffy sheep), Cuttles (small, pink-and-green squid with large eyes), Murtles (sea turtles with gemstone-like shells), and Mothpils (moths with vibrant wings and big, green eyes).
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: Jackle. Only it kind of... encompasses empty space. He also keeps his cards in there.
  • All There in the Manual: The Japanese manuals give much more backstory than the US versions. There's also an official storybook that gives more information on the relationship between NiGHTS and Reala.
  • Anime Hair: In the first game, Claris and Elliot have wildly-colored hair.
  • Ambiguous Gender: NiGHTS, and fanfic writers take full advantage of this.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Wizeman pulls this in the first ending of Journey of Dreams, although it's subverted in the true ending.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: How NiGHTS is characterized in Journey of Dreams.
  • Bad Dreams: What the visitors in both games are trying to overcome.
  • Bag of Spilling: Every level starts with NiGHTS captured and the heroes' Ideyas (except Courage) stolen, forcing you to get them back.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: A Ranks don't unlock anything, but sure are nice to look at when selecting a level.
  • Cats Are Mean: The first game has Clawz, a boss that looks lie a demonic feline. Bomamba, to an extent, since the cats are her weapons and her weakness.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • Christmas NiGHTS, a demo version of the game that would be affected by the Saturn's internal clock. Considered quite the collector's item nowadays, even though it was provided for free with certain magazines.
    • The Steam version's title screen will go into "Christmas NiGHTS" or "Holiday NiGHTS" mode depending on the system calendar.
  • Clown Species: Nightmarens are a race of beings created by the God of Nightmare Wizeman the Wicked to serve him and gather ideya from dreamers unfortunate enough to stumble across them. Third-Level Nightmarens are the least humanoid, resembling monstrous parodies of animals and cartoonish little men. Second-Level Nightmarens are similar to Third-Level Nightmarens but are much larger, acting as Boss Battles, their appearance ranging from animal-like (Claws, Gillwing, Girania, Chamelan, Cerebrus and Queen Bella) to a more exaggerated toy and/or human-esq form (Jackle, Donbalon and Bomamba), all with a clown-like, Art Nouveau design to them. First-Level Nightmarens are both the most powerful as well as the most humanoid, their appearances the most unambiguously Jester-like (NiGHTS and Reala).
  • Crapsack World: Although never seen, Nightmare is implied to be this, being the inverse of Nightopia.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Claris has pink hair and eyes, while Elliot has blue hair and eyes.
  • Cutting the Knot: Gillwing, the first boss of NiGHTS into dreams... is normally defeated by repeatedly flying into its head, causing it to lose a section of its tail each time. Or you can paraloop the tip of its tail, killing it instantly.
  • Dark Reprise: The main theme from the games gets a makeover when the player gets a game over (a more melancholy song if the time runs out on a regular level, and a Last Note Nightmare when the player loses in a boss fight). The most well-known version of all is whenever the titular character fights Reala, with the refrain of these battles is an angry, fierce reprise of "Dreams Dreams". Another instance is the first few seconds of the final boss fight in the original game.
  • Dream Land: Nightopia, the game's main setting, is visited by the main characters as they dream.
  • Dreams vs. Nightmares: Zig-zagged. Wizeman the Wicked is the leader and creator of the Nightmaren, an evil race of nightmare creatures, and he wants to take over the world. However, NiGHTS, the protagonist, is a Nightmaren themself, who turned against Wizeman, showing that the Nightmaren aren't all bad. However, the good dream creatures, the Nightopians, aren't really active at all in fighting Wizeman, leaving NiGHTS and the human children they team up with to do most of the work. Basically, this would be Nightmare vs. Nightmares, except NiGHTS is fighting on behalf of the good dreams.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The kids in both games gain the ability to fly in the final stages. After they reunite with NiGHTS, they dualize simultaneously to engage the final battle.
  • Evil Twin: Reala has the same powers and a similar appearance to NiGHTS, but is blindly loyal to Wizeman and a true sadist.
  • Expy: While it probably can't be considered a character, the Alarm Egg is an obstacle to the player. It's also a machine (an alarm clock) that flies and has an egg theme. This is almost certainly a shout-out to fellow SEGA character Dr. Eggman, a villain who rides around in flying egg-themed machines.
  • Flight: NiGHTS' main ability. The kids are also granted this power in the final level.
  • Fusion Dance: NiGHTS and the children work together by dualizing, granting NiGHTS certain benefits.
  • Gameplay Grading: Both NiGHTS games are largely about Scoring Points, and each time you return an Ideya to its palace, you're given a letter grade based on your performance, as well as a cumulative grade upon finishing a stage or boss. You typically unlock extra content by completing all the levels with either an A or a C rank.
  • Genre Roulette: Of the musical variety, sometimes going hand in hand with Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly. Musical styles used in the series often range from Pop-R&B ("Dreams Dreams"), Rock, ("E-LE-KI Sparkle") Orchestral, ("Fragmented NiGHTS" and "Know Thyself!"), New Jack Swing ("The Mantle", "Dreams Dreams: Sweet Mix In Holy Night"), Reggae ("Al-Di-Da: Peppermint Version"), Trip-Hop, Downtempo, and J-Pop.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: NiGHTS plays tennis with Reala in Sega Superstars Tennis, and the two apparently have quite a bit of fun doing so.
  • Green Hill Zone: Splash Garden, Spring Valley, Aqua Garden, and Pure Valley all take place in grassy meadows.
  • Kid Hero: Claris, Elliot, Will and Helen are all kids, but their unique Ideyas make them NiGHTS' only hope to stop Wizeman.
  • Magical Clown: This trope is strongly prevalent due to most of the characters being dream creatures. For example, we have NiGHTS him/herself, a magical jester who was born from nightmares, but made a Heel–Face Turn and uses his/her powers to fight other nightmares. There's also Reala, NiGHTS' Evil Twin, who stayed on the dark side. Some of the bosses fall into this category as well: for example, Jackle, a clown-like Death Dealer, and Puffy, an opera singer who resembles a clown due to her big red lips and colorful costume. The sequel gives us Donbalon, a ball-like clown.
  • Monster Clown: NiGHTS itself resembles a friendly jester yet is explicitly stated to be a nightmare. Reala plays this trope much more straight, though.
  • Mirror Boss: Reala fights by attempting to trap NiGHTS in a paraloop, and must be defeated with the same strategy.
  • Morphic Resonance: During the course of the two games, NiGHTS shapeshifts into a mermaid, a sleigh, a dolphin, a Chinese style dragon, a rocket, a boat, and a roller coaster. All of the forms keeps NiGHTS's color scheme and, in a few cases, their face.
  • No Biological Sex: NiGHTS, being a nightmare, is genderless. Its voice and appearance are appropriately androgynous.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Nightmaren are child-terrorising, soul/ideya stealing servants of an evil diety in the clash between good and evil. NiGHTS's, Reala's and Jackle's jester hats are reminiscent of demonic horns too.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Gillwing, a gigantic boss creature from the first game, with a ball-shaped body that's all mouth, evil eyes, and wings sprouting from his cheeks, and a long thin spike-ridged tail.
  • Pass Through the Rings: You do this to refill your dash gauge, with combos adding time on the clock — and on top of that, it's the point of a few levels.
  • Really 700 Years Old: NiGHTS and Reala are both implied to be this.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The games are made based on Jungian psychology, so they are full of archetypes and Personas as gameplay and story elements.
  • Sampling:
    • The track "Gate of Your Dream", which plays during the character select screen, samples clips from the film Home Alone.
    • Three songs from Journey of Dreams sample the famous drum loop from the Honey Drippers' "Impeach The President": the "Sandal Wood" and "Lavender" mixes of "Al-Di-La" and the "Labyrinth Guide" mix of "Crystal Choir.
    • "Know Thyself!", "Fragmented NiGHTS", "Growing Wings" and several other themes throughout the series reuse the melody of "Dreams Dreams" in their chords.
      • Along with sampling "Dreams Dreams", "NiGHTS and Reala" also contains a snippet of Frozen Bell's theme "Take The Snow Train".
  • Scenery Porn: Totally expected, considering who made the game. What especially makes this impressive is that the Sega Saturn had major trouble running most polygonal games, and it executes this game beautifully.
  • Shadow Archetype: NiGHTS is a rare positive example in fiction, embodying the positive traits of the protagonists that they've denied and suppressed due to their problems.
  • Sir Cameos-a-Lot: There are only two NiGHTS into Dreams... games (not including remakes and ports). It doesn't stop the game from being referenced in several Sega Superstars games, Sonic Adventure, Sonic Lost World, and Sonic Runners.
  • Stealth Pun: Reala's design features greasepaint makeup similar to KISS, and he's a crazy, crazy NiGHTS.
  • Timed Mission: All of the levels are on a strict timer. If it reaches zero, the fusion is cancelled and the kid must make it back to NiGHTS while avoiding a clock-like enemy. Touching this guy results in a Game Over. Of course, in boss battles (and the final level), the timer running out equals instant failure.
  • Updated Re-release: A remake with updated graphics came out in February 2008. In Japan. An HD rerelease came out in October 2012 globally.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Invoked whenever anyone thinks NiGHTS has a gender at all.
  • Widget Series: A pair of games centered around flying through vivid dreamscapes as a purple jester and reclaiming children's positive traits certainly doesn't spring to mind initially when one thinks of what Sega is famous for.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Nights, Christmas Nights

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Donbalon

Aside from the tricky environment, Donbalon has no attacks and the worst he can do is inconvenience NiGHTS by bumping into them. If anything, his boss arena is more threatening and that's used against him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (6 votes)

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